WASHINGTON – President Trump urged members of the United Nations to join the United States in defeating the murderous and corrupt regimes of North Korea and Iran, warning that his administration would do so unilaterally if necessary.
World peace cannot be achieved unless members of the U.N. join together in denuclearizing North Korea, Trump explained in his address to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday.
He hit hard on the theme of national sovereignty while rebuking North Korea with the strongest warning to date, saying it will be “totally destroyed” if it continues to pursue nuclear weaponry.
“If the righteous men do not confront the weak, evil will triumph. The forces of destruction only gather power and strength. No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea,” Trump said.
“It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans and for the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of countless more.”
Watch President Trump’s speech to the U.N.
Trump called for a “great awakening of nations” and stressed the importance of protecting national sovereignty.
Trump said the words “sovereign” or “sovereignty” 21 times in a 41-minute speech, according to a White House transcript.
He said he would always put “America first,” fighting for the safety and interests of Americans and especially the “long forgotten middle class.” But he also said other nations should put their own citizens first and protect their cultures.
“As long as I hold this office, I will defend American interests above all else,” Trump said. “I will always put America first, just as you should put your countries first.”
This is a dramatic departure from the previous administration of Barack Obama, who derided the nation state as a tarnished relic of the past while favoring globalism and global governance.
Trump called for “independent nations, rooted in their history” to resist mass migration and “preserve their cultures.”
“It was the best speech of the Trump presidency, in my view,” former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton told Fox News.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was bullish on the speech, saying, “I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”
Citing the recent death of American college student Otto Warmbier, Trump threatened to hold communist North Korea accountable for torturing and murdering innocent masses.
Warmbier intended to spend five days sightseeing in North Korea in 2016. Instead, he was detained in the country for 17 months, where his family believes he was tortured into a vegetative state.
He was released to the United States in June. Less than a week after returning with severe brain damage, the 22-year-old died.
“We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America, only to die a few days later. We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport. They captured a Japanese girl from the beaches of her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies,” the president said. “Now, North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.”
North Korean leader on suicide mission?
Trump repudiated any nation that is willing to support the rogue regime and warned that the United States will “totally destroy” the isolationist country if it continues down the path of developing nuclear weapons.
While he thanked Russia and China for voting in favor of sanctions, he also rebuked them for trading with a rogue nation headed by a dictator Trump referred to sarcastically as “rocket man.”
“It is an outrage that nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would financially support a country despite nuclear consequences,” he said. “No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
“The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about,” he continued. “That’s what the United Nations is for – let’s see how they do. It’s time for North Korea to realize that denuclearization is its only acceptable future.”
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Sept. 12, a week after the rogue nation carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test.
Pyongyang warned Monday that the sanctions will only entice the North Korean government to accelerate its nuclear program and called the new set of U.N. sanctions “the most vicious, unethical and inhumane act of hostility.”
Trump commended the Security Council for the sanctions but urged members to take more aggressive measures to economically disempower Kim Jong Un.
“United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea. I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions along with all the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved. We must do much more,” he said. “It’s time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior.”
Shifting gears to Iran
Trump then urged the General Assembly to address the imminent threat posed by Iran.
“It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime. One that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room,” he said. “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind a false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.”
Trump repudiated the Iranian government for depriving its own people of basic freedoms and resources, while using the country’s wealth to develop nuclear weapons and fund terrorism.
“The longest suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are in fact its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors,” he said. “This wealth also goes to shore up Bashar Al-Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war and undermines peace throughout the entire Middle East.”
Iran has been repeatedly accused of providing arms helping to fuel one side of the war in Yemen.
The top American admiral in the Middle East, Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, said on Monday that Iran continues to smuggle illicit weapons and technology into Yemen, stoking the civil strife there and enabling Iranian-backed rebels to fire missiles into neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Trump condemned Iran for its a sponsorship of terrorism and called the Iran nuclear deal “an embarrassment” and one of the worst that the United States has ever agreed to.
“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles and we cannot abide by the agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” he said. “The Iran deal was one of them worst and most one-sided transactions the United states has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United states and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”
The people of Iran, who regularly chant “death to America” and burn effigies of Uncle Sam “want change” and deserve sovereignty, Trump argued.
“Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists and begin serving its own people and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors. the entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change,” he said. “Other than the vast military power of the United States, Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters and imprison political reformers.
“Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever. The day will come when the people will face a choice – will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?”